On April 19, 2017

Forest bathing, corruption, and cauliflower

By Marguerite Jill Dye

Did you know that essential oils fall from the trees to bathe us with healing properties? Inhaling phytoncides improves immune function. Being surrounded by nature reduces anxiety and hyper activity. It puts us in balance with our center, and clears out brain clutter and constant chatter. It synchronizes us with Mother Nature.
In 1982 Japanese researchers discovered the physical and psychological benefits of the art of Shinrin-Yoku, forest bathing. Twenty-odd years later Japan spent $4 million dollars researching myriad health benefits of people leaving cities to walk among trees. Hugging trees and being in their presence reduces stress and lowers heart rate and blood pressure. Many Vermonters are adept at bathing in forests, meandering without speed or a deadline.
Surrounded by the gilded walls and mirrored halls of Trump Tower and Mar-a-Lago, it often seems Trump’s reality is not very real at all. Such a life would skew anyone’s view. Might a lack of connection with forests and woods be the root of his non-reality? That would explain why he plays golf so often. It may be his only time spent in “nature,” as unnatural as landscaped golf courses are. While not Thoreau’s Walden Pond, it may be as close as Trump gets to a wooded walk.
In meeting with China’s President Xi Jinping, our free world leader requested he step it up with North Korea. China warned Kim Jong-un that nuclear damage across the border would be direct confrontation. How fascinating that our Chinese American friends just told us how greatly they admire President Xi. He’s fighting corruption in government.
The only concerns a showman has are power, self-aggrandizement, and financial reward.
Many consider launching 59 Tomahawk cruise missile strikes into sovereign Syria as illegal without Congressional approval and under the U.S. War Powers Resolution. It was also deemed an illegal “act of aggression” by international law under the United Nations Charter. Military intervention is a tried and true diversionary tactic. Anything is possible in the Trump-Putin-Assad world. In the volatile area of the Middle East, most anything is playing with fire.
In 1555, Nostradamus predicted global warming and an authoritarian ruler who would lead the world into a global economic collapse and war between two great powers played out in smaller nations. We must beware of Donald Trump. He lacks a moral compass and is a danger to humanity. Even unintended consequences can lead us to war. I don’t want to be right…
Surrealist artist Salvador Dali, like Trump, learned that cutting-edge life and art, outrageous remarks, and flagrant self-promotion were very good for business. They kept him in the limelight and provoked a response. “Everything ends up in the cauliflower! The rub is that cauliflowers are too small to prove this theory conclusively,” Dalí exclaimed as he lectured to a rapt audience at the Sorbonne in 1955. He’d arrived in a white Rolls Royce filled with 500kg of cauliflowers to create a spectacle. But it was 60 years later in the Dalí Museums in Figueras, Spain, and St. Petersburg, Fla. that I learned of his interest in cauliflower, Romanesco Cauliflower to be exact (a cross between broccoli and cauliflower). It is similar in structure to the human brain. The geometric sequence and ratio repeat throughout nature in fractals, the structure of the whole object which is replicated in its parts.
I was hoping to find a spiritual teacher and then he showed up in my life. My teacher said, “We need to pray for Trump.” To pray that he act responsibly and be enlightened, and be surrounded by experts who provide sound advice from years of experience. We need to pray that he learns to value the earth and the laws we created to protect it from harm instead of abolishing them and damaging it. We need to pray that he will learn to value and save health care, public education, and freedom of speech. We need to pray that our president will use discretion and keep us safe from war. We need to pray that he calms down, learns kindness and compassion, and finds his center. Perhaps it’s time we invite our new president to come to Vermont for a bath in the forest.
Marguerite Jill Dye is an artist and author who lives in Killington and Bradenton, Florida.

Photo by Marguerite Jill Dye
The Japanese art of Shinrin-Yoku, forest bathing, in Vermont

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